Please read these Terms and Conditions (“Terms”) carefully as they contain important information about your legal rights, remedies and obligations. By accessing or using the hometouch Platform, you agree to comply with and be bound by these Terms.
Last Updated: 01/03/2020.
Thank you for using hometouch!
Definitions of terms:
When the following words with capital letters are used in these Terms, the definitions below will apply:
Account Manager: A Care Manager who is Your main point of contact as an existing Client for account related matters.
Audit: A process of data analysis, review and Continuous Quality Improvement that informs our policies, procedures and processes.
Bank Holiday: means a bank holiday in England and Wales, details of which can be found at https://www.gov.uk/bank-holidays.
Bank Holiday Rate: Our Bank Holiday rate is twice the non Bank Holiday Rate. You will be opted in to paying the bank holiday rate for any care sessions occurring on a Bank Holiday.
Cancellation Policy: The rules and procedures concerning cancelled Care Sessions, paused and terminated contracts.
Care Advisors: Trained office based advisors who are Your first point of contact regarding provision of home care, accessible typically by phone and email.
Care Journal: A ledger of historical data collected via the Professional Carer’s Care Hub detailing the Care delivered by Professional Carers during Care Sessions.
Care Plan: A live and dynamic clinical document detailing the Personal Care needs and activities of the Care Recipient and tasks performed by Professional Carers. Under the Managed Model of Care the Care Plan is produced and updated collaboratively by the Professional Carer, family, Care Recipient and Nurse Manager. In the Introductory Model of Care, the Care Plan is produced and updated by Professional Carer, family and Care Recipient.
Care Rate: The amount to be paid on an hourly or daily basis for the delivery of a Care Session.
Care Provider: For the Managed Care Model of Care, the provider of care is hometouch, regulated by the Care Quality Commission.
Care Quality Commission (CQC): The Independent Regulator of Health and Social Care in England.
Care Recipient/s: The term We use to define the patient, service user, end user or individual receiving Care provided by Professional Carers.
Care Session: Any period of time where a Professional Carer is delivering care on behalf of a care recipient
Carer Onboarding: The process in which Professional Carers move through before becoming available to deliver Personal Care through the hometouch platform. This includes right to work, criminal and employment background checks.
Carer Profile: The online profile of each Professional Carer that exist in the Carer Library, detailing a short biography, clinical experience, interests, Disclosure and Barring Service Check and Client reviews.
Client: The person who manages the Care Recipient’s account. The Client may or may not be the same person as the Care Recipient.
Care Hub: The online portal that includes services such as Carer Library, Messaging, Care Plan, contracts, Care Journal, and Payments.
Client Onboarding: The process through which We assess Your care needs and how they might be served by hometouch. This typically involves a phone discussion with a Care Advisor followed by matching of care needs to Carer Profiles in the Carer Library. Under the Managed Model, Client Onboarding will involve an Initial Home Visit from a member of the hometouch clinical team to facilitate the creation a Care Plan.
Clinical Governance: The Policies and Procedures through which Our Registered Manager and other clinical professionals oversee and improve the provision of care.
Complaints Procedure: The manner in which You can make a complaint to Us and how we will process, investigate and respond.
Continuous Quality Improvement: The processes and activities that we engage to improve the quality and effectiveness of our service. For example, risk meetings, audit and feedback
Consent: The care recipient’s capacitous agreement to receive personal care (or other assistance) communicated via written, verbal or other readily understood method of communication.
Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards: The legal framework that protects vulnerable individuals, who are typically non-capacitous, when they are confined to a single location such as a care home or Hospital.
Direct Payments: The funding mechanism provided by Local Authorities which permits Care Recipients an allocated budget for Personal Care
Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) Check: A background criminal records check of the Adult and Children’s Barred lists that is a statutory vetting requirement.
Employment Business: Defined under the Employment Agencies Act 1973 as the business of supplying people in the employment of the person carrying on the business, to act for, and under the control of, other people in any capacity.
Dr Jamie Wilson: Our Registered Manager
Fees: The Monies due to Us in return for the Services provided to You, that support the delivery of care through the hometouch platform.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs): An up to date list of questions and answers that address common concerns and queries
Health and Safety Assessment: The assessment carried out in each home to ensure it is a safe working environment, safe for the Care Recipient and compliant with Health and Safety Legislation
HomeTouch Care Ltd: Our corporate entity which is responsible for two models of care with our registered Office at Unit M1, 40 Bowling Green Lane, London EC1R 0NE.
Initial Home Visit: The welcome home visit carried out by our Nurse Manager to assess your care needs
Introductory Care Model: Our non-regulated business model. Under the Introductory Model of Care, Professional Carers provide Personal Care directly to Care Recipients without further involvement of hometouch in relation to care management. The provision of Care Plans, rotas and oversight are a collaboration between the Professional Carer, the Care Recipient and the family.
Key Lines of Enquiry (KLoE): The Framework used by the Care Quality Commission to inspect and regulate home care providers
Live in Care: The type of care where a Professional Carer resides on a temporary basis in the care recipient’s home for a 24 hour period.
Managed Care Model: The model of care whereby we act as the provider and HomeTouch employees work alongside the Professional Carer through the provision of regularly reviewed Care Plans and Risk Assessment, clinical support and Account Management.
Mandatory Training: The statutory and minimum requirements for training that Professional Carers delivering the Managed Care Model must satisfy. Mandatory Training is reviewed annually.
Medication Administration Record: The document on which Professional Carers record any medication provided to You as part of the Managed Care Model.
Mental Capacity: For the purposes of the Mental Capacity Act (2005), a person lacks capacity in relation to a matter if at the material time he is unable to make a decision for himself in relation to the matter because of an impairment of, or disturbance in the functioning of, the mind or brain.
NHS Continuing Healthcare: The funding mechanism provided by Clinical Commissioning Groups which permits Care Recipients an allocated budget for NHS Continuing Healthcare
Nominated Individual: Nominated individual means the person who is employed as a director, manager or secretary of a body and whose name has been notified to CQC as being the person who is responsible for supervising the management of the regulated activity by the CQC. Our Nominated Individual is Dr James Matthew Wilson.
Nurse Manager: The qualified Nurse who oversees Initial Home Visits, reviews Managed Care Plans and supports the Professional Carer to deliver Managed Care.
Personal Care: Provision of intimate and sensitive assistance in the Activities of Daily Living, ranging from but not confined to companionship to personal hygiene, washing and dressing and nutrition.
Personal Health Budgets: The funding mechanism provided by Clinical Commissioning Groups which permits Care Recipients an allocated budget for Personal Care and other support for a long term condition.
Power of Attorney: The legal role fulfilled by the nominee of the care recipient in relation to finances and health and welfare.
Professional Carers: The term we use to describe the self-employed carers providing Personal Care through the hometouch Platform.
Public Liability Insurance: Insurance that covers the cost of claims made by members of the public for incidents that occur in connection with business activities. Public liability insurance covers the cost of compensation for personal injuries and loss of or damage to property.
Registered Manager: The legal role fulfilled by Dr Jamie Wilson for the purposes of Our Registration with the Care Quality Commission
Regulated Activity: A service or provision of care that is subject to regulation by the Care Quality Commission
Risk Assessment: The process of identifying all the risks to and from an activity, and assessing the potential impact of each risk. The hometouch clinical team will create risk assessments as part of the Client Onboarding process for Managed care that outlines and monitors the clinical and other risks to the Care Recipient. The document is subject to regular to 3 monthly review. For the introductory model, risk assessments are the responsibility of the Professional Carer.
Safeguarding: Ensuring that people live free from harm, abuse and neglect and, in doing so, protecting their health, wellbeing and human rights. Children, and adults in vulnerable situations, need to be safeguarded. Further details can be accessed in Our Safeguarding Policy
Self-employed: Our Professional Carers are Self-Employed for tax purposes in accordance with advice and guidance We have received from employment experts, HMRC, the CQC and other regulatory bodies. All VAT is accounted for by hometouch accounting processes for both Introductory and Managed Models of Care.
Sensitive Personal Data: personal information about You and in particular Your racial or ethnic origin, political opinions, religious beliefs or other beliefs of a similar nature, membership of a trade union, medical or physical health or condition, sexuality or the commission or alleged commission of any offence, that is protected by the Data Protection Act 1998.
Service/s: The activities provided to you by Us and Professional Carers during the course of the contracted period, which include but are not limited to provision of Personal Care, Care Advice, Scheduling, Billing, Messaging, Care Journal, Care Plan, and Risk Assessment.
Schedule: The timings of Care Sessions agreed at the outset of the contract and modified in discussion with your Professional Carer. hometouch Care Managers will assist with scheduling for the Managed Care Model.
Statutory Breaks: Live-in carers are entitled to a 2 hour break in each 24 hours period. See Breaks further down these Terms and Conditions
Statutory Notification: The statutory requirements for Us to notify the regulator in the event of specific events or incidents. Us, We and Our: Meaning HomeTouch Care Ltd
You: A Client of hometouch.
1. General Terms of the hometouch Regulated Model of Care
1.1 About the hometouch Regulated Model of Care
hometouch is regulated by the Care Quality Commission. We aspire to comply with and exceed the requirements of the Health and Social Care Act 2008 (Regulated activities 2010).
hometouch offers a Dual Model of care comprising two distinct services depending on your need. The hometouch Introductory Model - an Introductory Agency that has been in operation since 2015 and the hometouch regulated Model - a Managed Care Service that was started in November 2018.
These terms and conditions refer to the hometouch Regulated Model. Please refer to Our T&Cs for the hometouch Introductory Model, on a separate page, if your carer is being delivered under the Introductory Model.
Our corporate entity HomeTouch Care Ltd is registered with the Care Quality Commission. However, only the hometouch Regulated Model offers a Regulated Activity that is accountable to the CQC.
You are able to switch between these two services depending on your needs from time to time. If you feel your care needs are better suited to a certain model please reach out to the hometouch care advisors to discuss your options.
We are defined as an Employment Business pursuant to the Employment Agencies Act 1973 as the business of supplying people in the employment of the person carrying on the business, to act for, and under the control of, other people in any capacity. This legislation allows for our Professional Carers to be self-employed providing certain criteria are met.
1.2 Our Service to You
The hometouch Regulated Model covers the following:
- Assessment of Your care needs by Our Care Advisors via phone and email
- An Initial Home Visit and Care Assessment
- A Risk Assessment and Health and Safety Assessment of Your home
- Provision of a bespoke Care Plan
- Provision of Personal Care by Our Professional Carers
- A dedicated Nurse Manager for clinical enquiries
- A Registered Manager and dementia physician who provide clinical oversight and clinical governance
- Use of our Platform - containing scheduling, contracts, messaging and billing tools
- Real time updates on care provision via Our Care Journal
- Access to vetted Carer Library of Professional Carers and matching service
- Account Management and dedicated Customer Service for account and billing enquiries and rota management
1.3 The hometouch Regulated Model of Care process
Our Care Advisors will assess your needs over the telephone to determine your suitability for the hometouch Regulated Model.
We will conduct an Initial Home Visit or visit you in Hospital or any other suitable location and prepare a Care Plan and discuss Your care requirements before We commence the Service. This will be completed by a Nurse Manager or other suitable or qualified individual. In some instances this may be a Professional Carer employed directly by Us. In emergency situations we endeavour to do this at the earliest opportunity.
The Care Plan is a legal document accessible through our Platform that has certain statutory requirements attached to it:
- It must be reviewed 3 monthly by our Registered Manager
- It is a live document subject to regular amendments by Us in collaboration with You
- It may be subject to Audit and review as part of process of Continuous Quality Improvement
- We endeavour to keep this information confidential, although there may be certain exceptions such as Statutory Notifications to the CQC, where information will be disclosed
We will exercise reasonable care and skill to meet Your individual needs and preferences as set out in the Care Plan and to provide suitably trained, sufficiently skilled, experienced and competent Professional Carers to provide the Service.
Our Professional carers will work to the best of their ability in accordance with the Care Plan.
Your Professional Carers will update the Care Journal during Care Visits and up to 24 hours afterwards with due care and attention. Care Journals are reviewed by our Compliance Manager daily. In their Absence this duty is completed by our Nursing Lead. This information will be available to you in your Care Hub.
We will provide a 24 hour a day/ 7 days a week phone line. We will endeavour to meet any emergency provision provide to the best of our ability and resources available. Any emergency need will be discussed with a member of the hometouch team at the time who will be able to inform on an expected resolution.
If You are unable to express Your preferences as a result of impaired or lack of capacity (in accordance with the Mental Capacity Act 2005) We will discuss and agree Your care and Your Care Plan with a relative or other authorised representative and act in accordance with Your best interests.
1.4 Medication Administration Policy
Our Professional Carers are made aware that they will only assist you with medication when authorised to do so and agreed as part of the Care Plan. All medication should be made available in their original packages and dosset boxes arranged by the pharmacist. The Medication Administration Record (MAR or eMAR) will be completed on each visit (or, if less, once a day) by Your Professional Carer. All Medication Administration Records are reviewed by Our Compliance Manager.
1.5 Limitations of service
All the tools provided by hometouch for the Regulated Care Model are used at the customer’s and self-employed carers’ own risk and there is no guarantee that these tools will work optimally, not be subject to downtime, or removed from service at any point in time. hometouch does not accept any liability for losses or damages caused by the temporary unavailability of the service or technical errors. hometouch disclaims any liability for controversies, losses, injury, accidents, claims or damages arising out of the use of the online tools it provides, the engagement of carers or the provision of care services by carers.
2. Live-in Care Requirements
2.1 Live-in Care Facilities
Live-in Professional Carers have various legal rights which include (without limitation) the following: provision of a separate bedroom for them with suitable bathing and toilet facilities which are clean and in a good state of repair. Carers; require the provision of ample food and clean bedding as well as adequate cleaning materials and protective clothing to carry out the Service properly.
We will discuss these requirements with you in detail and record these in your Care Plan.
2.2 Live-in Break Provision
Live-in Professional Carers require a minimum 2 hours break per day. This time off must be within daylight hours. If agreed between the Client and the Professional Carer at the time of assessment some of these hours may be banked to provide longer periods of time off on fewer days, but the minimum provision must be 14 hours over a 7 day week.
If the Care Recipient is unhappy or unable to remaining alone for any period during which the Live in Professional Carer has their break then We will be happy to discuss alternative arrangements as part of your Care Plan. Additional cover during a live in professional Carer break may incur additional charges.
Professional Carers are advised that any expenses or travel arrangements should be covered by Our Fees. However in extremis the location or living arrangement may require additional expenses for the Professional Carer. Any request for expenses will be discussed by a hometouch Care Manager.
3. hometouch Professional Carers
All Our Professional Carers are self-employed and have been through our Carer Onboarding process, which includes telephone and face to face interviews, 2 employment references, Enhanced DBS checks, Right to Work in UK check, and mandatory training.
3.1 Vetting and background checking of carers
hometouch makes reasonable efforts to check the identity and information provided by carers. This includes visual checks of:
- Identity documents to confirm the right to live and work in the UK
- Stated qualifications and training certificates where available
3.2 Matching a carer to your Care Plan
We will endeavour to match a named Professional Carer to You each time We provide the Service to You. However, sickness, availability and unforeseen events may require us to match you with an alternative Professional Carer. We will endeavour to give You as much advance notice as circumstances allow. For periods of Professional Carer leave, we will endeavour to permit You to select a preferred replacement carer. However hometouch reserve the right at its sole discretion to provide a Professional Carer We adjudge to meet your care needs for periods of limited cover.
In the event that it is necessary for a Professional Carer to attend Your home at a different time and/or day to that agreed, We will give You as much notice as possible.
Our Professional Carers are not permitted to carry out certain tasks, including the following:
- heavy lifting of any kind, including lifting or moving You without appropriate equipment or a sufficient number of people to assist
- household maintenance (including DIY tasks)
- buying or recommending any over-the-counter preparations such as aspirins or cough medicines
- any other tasks which they are not allowed to carry out pursuant to any applicable laws, regulations or policies
4. Fees and Billing
4.1 Carer Rates
Carer rates will be agreed with you at the start of the contract. The Care Rate may vary according to the matters not limited to, complexity of care, specialist skills, manual handling requirements, and seniority of the the Professional Carer.
The Care Rate may be subject to change if We detect material changes in the care need. This will be communicated to You prior to any changes being made and a new contract will be created.
4.2 Billing Cycle
You will be billed at the beginning of each week, for the care that will be delivered in the following week, depending on your preferred payment method. Our current payment provider is Stripe and all credit and debit card information is held securely and is PCI compliant. On setting up a contract you will initially be billed for two weeks of care to synchronise with the payment cycle.
4.3 Bank Holiday Charges
hometouch will automatically apply a double charge to any Care Session occurring over a statutory bank holiday, as defined by the UK Government: https://www.gov.uk/bank-holidays
4.4 Direct Payments
If you are paying via Direct Payments or Personal Budgets, payment cannot be authorised unless we receive confirmation in writing from the relevant Local Authority or CCG.
4.5 Fee reviews
We retain the right to review and increase our Fees for the Service on an annual basis.
We also retain the right the increase our Fees at any other interval if:
- we incur unforeseen costs of providing the Service such as increased cost of labour, materials or overheads
- a change is necessary in order to comply with any applicable regulatory or statutory requirements
5. Cancellations, Pausing, Termination, Withdrawal of Service and Carer Holidays
You can cancel the Service at any time (and for any reason) within 14 days of the date of this Agreement (the “Cooling Off Period”). If any Care Sessions have occurred within the Cooling Off Period, You are required to pay for these Sessions.
To exercise the right to cancel you must inform Us of your decision to cancel this contract by a clear statement in writing.
If a contract is cancelled within a 14 day notice period, hometouch reserves the right to retain collected funds in order to provide an element of income protection to the carer. These amounts shall be payable by You by reason of the inconvenience of not giving the appropriate notice, and to cover the Professional Carer for loss of income in addition to our administration costs in planning the Service to You.
It may be necessary for You to cancel one or more of your booked visits. For live in care We require 7 days notice of such a cancellation, to be given during office hours. Failure to do so will result in the full charge of the visit being levied, to cover the Professional Carer’s loss of income. Cancellation of such visits must be reported to the hometouch office and not to our Professional Carers.
If You turn away a Professional Carer at the door or shorten the visit, for any reason, You will be charged for the full time booked for that Professional Carer. We will use our best endeavours to provide an alternative Professional Carer if so required.
If Your visits have to be cancelled due to a medical emergency i.e. hospitalisation, then no charge will be made.
5.2 Pausing the service
If You pause the service for a period of time We cannot guarantee that the same Professional Carer will be available to attend Your home when You resume the Service.
5.3 Our termination of the service
We may terminate this Agreement:
- By giving 14 days’ written notice for any reason
- After giving 14 days’ written notice that You have failed to pay the Fees
- After giving 7 days’ written notice that We are unable to meet Your needs
5.4 Withdrawal of Our Service
We take the safety of our Professional Carers seriously and safety is our paramount concern. We will not tolerate anti-social behaviour, verbal abuse, intoxication with alcohol or other psychoactive substances. In the event that this occurs, we reserve the right to withdraw Our Service.
In the event that the Client/Care Recipient is unable to capaciously manage their financial affairs and no third party is able to take on this role, we reserve the right to withdraw Our Service.
5.5 Carer Holidays, Notice Periods and Minimum Leave Periods
In cases where a client has an ongoing contract with one or more carers, carers should take leave only when at least 4 week's notice is given and the period of leave is for at least one week. This is to allow sufficient time to find cover and allow enough time for a replacement carer to provide care for the required period. In exceptional circumstances such as a family emergency where shorter time periods are requested, Hometouch will endeavour to facilitate necessary cover.
6. Feedback and customer reviews
You will be asked to leave qualitative and quantitative feedback on your care experience. The feedback will affect each carer’s ranking in the Carer Library. Feedback should be provided honestly and you must not attempt to falsify, manipulate or coerce a carer by threatening negative feedback. Any attempts of a carer trying to influence you in our feedback or trying to change your opinion unduly should be reported to us. We reserve the right to remove any defamatory, abusive or offensive feedback at our discretion but are not obliged to do so. You agree to providing an exclusive and perpetual right for hometouch to publish these reviews.
7. Quality assurance and background checks
By using this site or service you authorise hometouch to carry out any relevant background checks and audits at a time of their choosing. hometouch reserves the right but not the obligation to use a third party to scan your personal information on an ongoing basis against a variety of sources which may include, but are not limited to; credit checking, sex offender registries, social media, criminal registries and other legally available databases and resources. hometouch has no obligation to perform checks and releases all liability associated with result from checks.
8. Safeguarding Policy
We take the welfare of vulnerable adults seriously and comply with all relevant legislation including the Care Act 2010, the Mental Capacity Act 2005 and the Safeguarding of Vulnerable Adults Act.
In instances where we deem a "vulnerable" adult is at risk of exploitation, abuse or any type of harm and we have received evidence to indicate this the case, we will comply with this legislation and refer the relevant parties to the nearest Local Authority's Adult Safeguarding Team.
9. Complaints Policy
hometouch takes all customer complaints seriously and is committed to learning from mistakes and improving our service for both current and future Clients, Care Recipients and Professional Carers.
If you have a complaint, please send via email to firstname.lastname@example.org as soon as to the related incident. We will normally respond within 48 hours (ie two business days). We will investigate any matter referred and take appropriate action where necessary. If you have concerns regarding the performance, behaviour or competence of a Professional Carer, we will investigate the matter and may take proportionate action ranging from verbal and written feedback to account suspension. We are unable to consider complaints any further than 1 (one) week after the alleged incident.
10. Insurance & liability
Subject to various exclusions below, We are responsible for loss or damage that is a foreseeable result of Our breach of this Agreement or Us failing to use reasonable care and skill. We are not responsible for any loss or damage which is not foreseeable. Loss or damage is foreseeable if it is an obvious consequence of Our breach or if it was contemplated by You and Us at the time We entered into this Agreement.
Nothing in this Agreement limits or excludes Our liability:
- for death or personal injury resulting from Our negligence or the negligence of our employees, sub-contractors or consultants
- for any damage or liability incurred by You as a result of fraud or fraudulent misrepresentation
- for breach of Your legal rights in relation to the Services
- for any other matter for which it would be unlawful to exclude or limit Our liability.
We strictly require each of the Professional Carers to hold sufficient liability insurance policy at the minimum level as required by the then-current applicable laws.
At all times during which the Services are being provided you will ensure that you have in place suitable building and contents insurance to cover accidental damage to Your Home or its contents. Where the Services include Our Professional Carers driving Your motor vehicle, you will ensure that you have suitable motor insurance to cover damage caused by the use of the motor vehicle by the Professional Carer to passengers, Your vehicle and / or third parties or their property.
During the provision of the Services, We may suggest that You use certain third party service providers. Such suggestions are not part of the Services We provide. Your use of such third party service providers is entirely at Your discretion and at Your own risk and any contract with such third party service provider will be solely between You and them. We do not accept any responsibility for any loss or damage whatsoever that You may suffer as a result of Your use of such third party providers.
11. Force Majeure/ Events outside our control
We will not be liable for any failure to perform or delay in performance of any of our obligations for any reason outside of our reasonable control, such as Acts of God (for example, riot, civil commotion, fire, flood, fuel shortages, strikes or labour disturbances and transport disruptions whether involving Our Professional Carers or any other party). All reasonable endeavours, in such an event, will be made to ensure provision of care continues while the interruption occurs. We will not be liable to You for any loss You may have suffered and/or cost You may incur as a result of the interference or interruption.
12. Gifts and payments
The Professional Carer shall not be permitted to accept any gifts or tips. Please do not leave any items or money to the Professional Carer (or any other person employed or engaged by Us) in Your will.
13. Other Notes
We may vary these terms and conditions from time to time depending on changes to our services. We will update you as and when this occurs.
If any provision of this Agreement is found by a court or other competent authority to be invalid or unenforceable that shall not affect the validity of the remainder of this Agreement.
The Agreement, these Terms and Conditions and the Care Plan constitute all the terms and conditions between You and Us (subject to the variations allowed for by those Terms and Conditions) and is made to supersede all previous agreements and arrangements relating to Your care.
You acknowledge that You have not been induced to enter into this Agreement by any representation or promise that the Agreement does not expressly contain (but this clause shall not exclude any liability for any representation made by Us that was made fraudulently).
Unless We agree with You otherwise, any notice required to be given to Us under the Agreement shall be in writing and shall be delivered personally, or sent by pre-paid first-class post, recorded delivery or by courier. Any notice required under the Agreement shall not be validly served if sent by other means.
14. Governing Law
The terms and conditions and any dispute arising out of Our service shall be governed by and construed in accordance with the law of England and Wales. The courts of England and Wales shall have exclusive jurisdiction to settle any dispute or claim that arises out of or in connection with these terms and conditions or in connection with this service.